I am still in shock at winning a summer internship with M&S and my dreams of splashing out on a new wardrobe coming true!

I look back on my application with such wonder and disbelief at what is now an amazing outcome. I stumbled across the competition having heard about it through my university. If I am being totally honest, working in a full-time student placement at Ralph Lauren with long commutes, alongside completing university projects, I couldn’t comprehend how I would balance this on top of everything else. Being intrigued, I researched it further and saw how well organised and established the competition was I could only think to myself how stupid I would be not to have a go. After all, what did I have to lose?

The process I went through was similar to what I had previously experienced when applying for placements. It consisted of a four-stage process beginning with two essay questions, two online tests, a 20-minute video interview and finally a half day at an assessment centre with M&S who sponsored the award. Feeling a touch daunted with little expectation of winning, I knew I had nothing to lose. I conducted the online tests at stupid hours in the morning and the video interview while suffering from extreme jet lag the day after returning from a trip to Thailand! Despite this I suddenly found myself at the award ceremony in Canary Wharf where I was wined and dined and treated like a winner before the results were even announced.

It was the most incredible networking opportunity, not only surrounded by the brightest young minds of the future but also by industry professionals and directors, enjoying their company during the reception, three-course meal and after-party. I know this opportunity will stick with me forever and will be a prominent thing to highlight on my CV putting me in a great position for future employment. You can’t put a price on winning something like that.

Therefore my top tip is that even though there will always be someone who can do something better than you, someone has to win the competition so why deny yourself the potential rewards!